March 19, 2014

Wednesday Briefs: Hope #24

Welcome to Wednesday Briefs, where authors post free fiction of 1000 words or less each week. I used the following prompt: Do you think he’s/she’s going to be okay?” 

Hope #24

True to her word, Marisa needed several hours to call the right people, explain things in terms that gave me a headache, and eventually breathe, “You're set to go.”
Now?” I asked around a yawn. The day had passed without me really noticing. Nothing out of the ordinary here; that had been my default setting since Shane's death. I cast a swift look to the slumbering puppy in my arms. Still there.
I shifted Shane and he gave an annoyed grumble, but didn't wake up. We'd gotten something to eat a while ago, and obviously he was sated and at peace with the world. I wished I could say the same about my state of mind.
Do you think he’s going to be okay?” I asked. When Marisa raised an eyebrow, I added, “I mean, once he's back in human-form. Do you think he's going to be okay afterward?”
She expelled a long breath, which sounded rather ominous to my ears. People only emitted these strange, long breaths that sounded like a slowly deflating balloon, when they weren't sure how to react, or when they were annoyed.
Gil, Shane will never be okay. Someone tried to kill him.”
“Well, maybe someone should find those wannabe assassins and... and... I don't know. What do you usually do with these people? Throw them in jail? Jinx them?” I asked. What the hell was I talking about?
Marisa left me no time to question my sanity yet again. She said, “There are various options available.”
“Go on.”
“I'd rather not.”
“Because I'm such a delicate, little flower that can't deal with the harsh reality of... the magic world?” I bit out.
Her answer brought me up short. Blinking, I said, “You sure don't beat around the bush.”
“No, I don't.” The hint of a smile touched her lips. “It's been pointed out to me that I could do with a bit more tact.”
I think I agree with those people.”
I thought you might.” Her expression became serious, and she rested a hand on my forearm. “Gil, you're just a human, without any kind of power. I fear for your life.”
I swallowed. After clearing my throat several times, I replied, “Shane doesn't seem to worry, and I doubt he'd put me into danger willingly.”
Marisa's eyebrows knitted together closely. I guess that meant we weren't on the same page here. She supported my assessment when she said, “He lived with you, despite knowing what could happen. I'm not sure if your safety means anything to him.”
That remark stung. I got up, with Shane in my arms, just so she wouldn't see the effect her words had on me. I went to the window and peered out into the darkness. Twinkling silver stars littered the sky and gave it an atmosphere of serenity.
I didn't know why Marisa acted the way she did, but I had to decide whom I trusted more—her or Shane.
The answer came instantly. I pivoted on my heel, and with my head held high, I said, “How about we go now? We've wasted enough time already.”
Her expression hardened for a fraction, then she sighed again. She rose to her feet and asked, “In case you don't return, do you want me to call someone and inform them about your death?”
“Excuse me?” I gasped. “I don't intend to die!”
“No one does. It still happens.”
A million remarks lay on the tip of my tongue—none of them would be flattering for her. With heroic effort, I refrained from uttering them. Instead, I said in a cool voice, “That's gonna be my problem, not yours, right? At least I had the courage to do something, instead of just sitting back and playing devil's advocate.”
Shane, of course, woke up right at that moment.


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